West Midlands launches new cycling fund

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street has announced £2 million in funding to help communities make their streets safer and encourage more cycling and walking.

Part of the Better Streets Fund, announced at the region’s first Cycling Summit, is part of a continued commitment by the authority to improve cycling and walking opportunities in the region. Communities from across the region will now be able to put in bids for improvements to their streets designed to encourage more people to cycle or walk.

As well as upping the spending on cycling to £10 per person per year, the authority is also looking to invest up to £250 million to improve cycling infrastructure.

Street said: “As well as being great exercise and a fun way to explore the region, cycling and walking are crucial to reducing congestion and tackling climate change. Often I hear how people want to walk and cycle more but there is a something stopping them - be it a lack of cycle storage or a problem with a particular route. We do not want any obstacles stopping people getting out on two wheels or on two feet, and that is why we have launched this fund.

“People might want a new road crossing, somewhere to padlock a bike or measures to stop cars parking on pavements. Whatever your idea is to improve the cycling and walking experience, we want to hear it.  To show how committed the Combined Authority is to getting more people out on their bikes, we are raising the funding for cycling in the West Midlands to £10 per person per year until 2022.”

The summit, which attracted almost 100 attendees, was hosted by former world BMX and track cycling champion Shanaze Reade, the first event in her new role as West Midlands Cycling and Walking Ambassador.